DCPC Qualifications

There are two types of qualifications that are used to determine whether an area qualifies as a DCPC, General Qualifications that apply to all districts and Specific Qualifications for each type of district.

General Qualifications for All Districts

Need for Designation: There must be a regional need for special regulations or planning to protect the district from damage or losses by inappropriate development. The Commission shall find:
  • that present public or private regulations in a substantial part of the district cannot assure protection: and
  • that damage to the district or impediments to proper development will be a substantial loss to the region or to two or more towns.
Size and Shape of the District: The district shall consist of the land and water that reasonably belong in the district for the three following reasons:
  • It is the critical area or critical resource that is in need of protection.
  • It is the logical planning area that should be considered in adopting a coordinated system of regulations to protect the critical resource or critical area.
  • The dimensions or landmarks that form the boundary of the district are convenient and recognizable.

Specific Qualifications

Drinking Water Resource District: The district is important to the protection of a regional aquifer, watershed, aquifer recharge zone or surface water supply with the following considerations:
  • Development or waste disposal without special regulations in the district could endanger the quality or quantity of the water.
  • Studies or expert advice indicate that the designation and regulation of the district could be effective in protecting the quality or quantity of water, and that, since public health, safety and welfare are paramount, special precaution should be taken.

Fishing Resource District: The water body in the district is particularly well suited for the production of shell or fin fish or can be made productive through good management and improvements.

Farming Resource District: The district includes areas particularly suited now and in the future for sustaining or augmenting the Island's food supply or other agriculture. The district must have one or more of the following characteristics:
  • The district is generally being farmed or can be converted to farming conveniently relative to other areas on the Island.
  • Land ownerships within the district are generally of adequate size to support farming. Soil, climate and topography are well suited for farming.

Wildlife, Natural, Scientific, or Ecological Resource District: The district contains an important and identifiable wildlife, natural, scientific or ecological resource. This would include but not be limited to special plant and animal life and their habitats, as well as unusual geological features, and is critical because development may disrupt the ecological balance.

Cultural or Historic Resource District: The district contains a place, landscape, way or view which is in some special way expressive of the character of the Island, traditions of the Island residents, and of special interest to Island visitors. The maintenance and protection of those values is essential to a sound local economy. The district also:
  • is of exceptional symbolic or recreational importance to the residents of more than one town and is either visible or accessible to them or can reasonably be made so; or
  • is rare, unique, or makes an unusual contribution to the diversity of the Island character; or
  • is irreplaceable, or replaceable only with extraordinary effort or expense.
Subject to the above general tests, designations may be considered for areas which are important for their connection with the history of the region-including its geological history or the history of its Indian settlement-or which symbolize and support the traditional activities and ways of Island life, or which give us a particular understanding of the Vineyard lands and their setting in the sea. These include places that present opportunities for hunting and fishing and the enjoyment of wildlife.
Economic or Development Resource District: The district will include areas that have special potential for providing employment or housing for Island residents, or for accepting necessary development which might be detrimental in other locations. The district must also:
  • require special regulations to create, preserve or enhance that potential, and
  • be better suited or more readily available for the facility or development than other areas of the Island, considering topography, utilities, costs and environmental and social impact; and
  • have adequate access, preferably from a regional feeder road.
Major Public Investment District: The district will include areas which have a significant impact on an existing or possible future major public investment or areas which are significantly affected by such an investment. In addition, the district must qualify as follows:
  • The district pertains to a major public investment as defined in the MVC Act, and may include airports, highways, schools, parks, beaches, preserves, public utilities and medical facilities owned or operated by a Federal, state or county agency, or by a quasi-public or charitable non-profit agency; and
  • the intended use or operation of the public investment or the health, safety and welfare of the public could be impaired by improper development in the district.

Hazardous District: It is an area that possesses hazards due to marginal soil or topographic conditions that render it unsuitable for intense development. Factors to be considered include: Flooding, waste treatment, groundwater, erosion, construction problems, salt-water intrusion and pollution.



Office location:

Office location:

The Stone Building
33 New York Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Telephone: 508-693-3453
Fax: 508-693-7894

Mailing Address

Mailing address:

Martha's Vineyard Commission
P.O. Box 1447
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

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